Rosie’s is one of those bars I’d heard a lot about before but had sadly never been to. After stopping by on Memorial Day for a drink and dinner with Mom, I wish I had made the discovery sooner.

The restaurant and pub is on the periphery of Portland’s hopping Old Port. It’s enough out of the way that it could be missed by people bar hopping on Exchange and Wharf streets, but close enough that it could be added to a bar-crawl stop.

When you walk in, Rosie’s looks small. There are some high pub tables around the long tiled bar and plenty of seating. Don’t be deceived by the entry into the bar, though, because there’s a second room with ample seating and space to play darts.

It was quiet on Memorial Day. All the weekend tourists must have been heading home and the locals grilling up burgers in their backyards. When an establishment is slow, staff sometimes seem to forget about the customers, but that wasn’t the case here. Just after Mom and I picked our seats at the bar, the bartender was there to take our order.

“Order something with vodka for me,” Mom said to me. She had discovered the free popcorn machine, and made a beeline to get herself a basket.

I picked one of my favorites for her — Stoli Orange with soda water — that was served in a pint glass for $6.75. After her first sip, she said, “This is so refreshing.”


I was told to try the Hooker Brown Ale because it’s made by Gritty’s special for Rosie’s and is “oh so tasty,” but I couldn’t resist the Woodchuck Summer Hard Cider on tap. A pint of that cost $4.25.

What I liked a lot about Rosie’s is that it definitely achieves the cozy neighborhood pub ambiance without feeling like you’re in a cave. Large windows in the front of the bar and seating area let in ample light throughout the afternoon. The staff was relaxed, friendly and welcoming.

Of course, I might advise not wearing New York Yankees paraphernalia to the pub. A sign just under one of the flatscreen televisions reads “Yankees Suck,” which clearly says to me you’re better off wearing a Red Sox hat if you want a drink.

While Rosie’s offers a variety of specials every day of the week, one thing you won’t find is live entertainment. The bartender said having live bands disrupted the diners who would come to eat late in the evening, so entertainment was discontinued.

It really speaks to the fact that the owners of Rosie’s want their customers to come in, enjoy some drinks and maybe some food, and relax. They don’t want customers to have to yell over music just to have a decent conversation.

Rosie’s menu touts that it is famous for its calzones and half-pound burgers. While I didn’t try either, Mom went right for the Patty Melt.


The burger came served on marble rye bread with Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and caramelized onions. I’d say don’t try to order this burger unless you’re really hungry or plan on taking half home. It was huge and, according to Mom, fresh and delicious.

I ordered the salad on special, which was huge and beautifully presented. We also shared the baker’s dozen shrimp cocktail, which is a regular special.

Needless to say, we were as impressed by the food as we were by the service and our drinks.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.


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